April 12, 2013

Delegates resoundingly pass resolution on state tests

Author: Matt Smith
Source: RA Reporter

NYSUT delegates - to a hearty round of applause - adopted a resolution Friday that assails the unfairness surrounding the state's use of this year's standardized testing based on the Common Core Learning Standards.

The resolution calls on the State Education Department and the Regents to use test results only to evaluate this year's Common Core implementation and not in any high-stakes decision-making regarding student or teacher performance

NYSUT calls upon Commissioner John King and the Regents to inform parents and the public about the anticipated lower scores on the state's grades 3-8 ELA and math tests based on the Common Core Learning Standards, which can be attributed to the unrealistic timeline, and that lower scores are not a true measure of a student's ability or teacher's effectiveness.

King and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, among others, have acknowledged student test scores will plummet - likely by up to 30 percent.

A recent NYSUT statewide poll of parents with students in public schools found that 81 percent believe their children have not had enough time to prepare for standardized tests on the state's new Common Core Learning Standards.

The poll found that 78 percent of parents believe this year's tests should not count at all. Also, 88 percent said the tests should not be used for high-stakes decisions for students and teachers.

While teachers embrace accountability and support the potential of the Common Core, NYSUT believes the state's uneven rollout of new standards and new assessments are too much, too soon.

While the standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, New York is one of only a few states testing students on the Common Core this year. Most states begin Common Core testing in 2014, which is the year recommended by the federal government.

NYSUT Vice President Neira said the issue is not about sidestepping accountability. Rather, it is simply about common sense.